Suspended Supreme court Justice Phillip Musonda says the Malawian Judge who has been imported to lead a tribunal to investigate him and two other judges is too junior to handle the matter.
And the Judicial and Allied Workers of Zambia says President Michael Sata breached the constitution when he appointed a tribunal.
But the Law Association of Zambia, which is one of the complainants, says it has reveiwed the powers of the president and has concluded that he has powers to appoint tribunals under article 98 of the constitution.
LAZ present James Banda says Sata has powers to proceed as he has done.
IMPORTANT: LAZ president James Banda is a partner, that is, he runs a law firm jointly with Judge Albert Wood, the one who was hearing the case of the K14 billion which the Zambian Airways borrowed from the Development Bank of Zambia. It is the same Banda who went to complain to complain to Sata.
But Judicial and Allied Workers Union president Peter Mwale says the matter should have been referred to the Judicial Complaints Authority.
He said after the Investigation by the Judicial complaints Authority, the report should have been referred to the chief Justice who in turn would have recommended to the president to set up a tribunal.
The sentiments of the Judicial and Allied workers are echoed by Justice Phillip Musonda who has said that:
“Read the Constitution, Article 91 sub article 2 and read the judicial code of conduct, section 20 and 24, sub section 1. What do they say? The tribunal cannot take up the power of the Judicial Complaints Authority. It has to be the Judicial Complaints Authority first.”
Justice Musonda also wondered how a junior judge like Lovemore Chikopa the Malawian a High Court Judge can preside over a tribunal to investigate senior judges.
Justice Musonda believes that the matter can only be heard by Supreme Court Justice from anywhere in the Commonwealth.
Lovemore Chikopa is a High Court judge in the commercial division of the Malawian High Court.
President Sata on Monday suspended three judges in connection with the handling of the matter in which the defunct Zambia Airways owed DBZ K14 billion.
High court Judge Nigel Mutuna delivered judgement that Zambian Airways which was owned by DPP Mute mbo Nchito and Post newspaper owner Fred M’membe should pay back the money to the public bank.
But the president of Zambia decided to suspend the judges.
Said Sata at State House:
“With respect to Justice Nigel Kalonde Mutuna, the Tribunal shall generally inquire into the conduct of Mr Justice Nigel Kalonde Mutuna in relation to the manner in which he presided over the hearing and determination of the case of Development Bank of Zambia -v- Post Newspapers Limited, JCN Holdings Limited & Mutembo Nchito,” President Sata said. “That Justice Nigel Kalonde Mutuna misbehaved and/or acted incompetently when he proceeded to hear and determine the matter without a formal order transferring the matter from Justice Albert Mark Wood before whom the matter had been heard. The circumstances under which Justice Mutuna heard the matter without a formal order from Justice Albert Mark Wood pointed to a conspiracy with Justice Philip Musonda and Justice Charles Kajimanga to defeat and/or subvert the course of justice.”
Other allegations were: “That Justice Nigel Kalonde Mutuna misbehaved and/or acted incompetently when he proceeded to hear and determine the matter in total disregard of evidence available to him that clearly demonstrated that Justice Albert Mark Wood’s independence as a judge had been interfered with in the course of proceedings relating to the matter.
“That Justice Nigel Kalonde Mutuna misbehaved and/or acted incompetently, in the circumstances of the matter, when he proceeded to deliver judgment in a matter in which the Plaintiff had expressly indicated that it no longer intended to proceed with the matter as a result of which it filed